Always Stay Little

Sometimes Hal can really make life difficult. Like when he hollers for me to come wipe his bottom right after I finally sit down for a rest. Or when he’s wiggling and making noise right next to me as I try to record his sister’s band concert. Or when he opens something I was planning to return to the store. Or when he scribbles his special sanskrit on the wall in Sharpie, carefully hidden behind the recliner.

But small little moments like tonight make it all worthwhile. He needed to go to the bathroom but the hall bathroom was occupied by his sister and the master bath by his father. Neither was likely to free up soon. “And I don’t want to go to the pooseum,” he said.

The pooseum is what we call the little half bath at the end of the laundry room. My husband has pottery on display in there – hence it’s the museum where people go poo. Go ahead and groan, I know you want to.

It is a small room with no windows. It has a large utility sink instead of your standard bathroom one. It is also where we tend to store cleaning supplies and some other miscellaneous stuff. And, as I already said, it’s at the end of the laundry room, which is at the far end of the house. In other words, it’s a room carefully designed to make a five year old intensely uncomfortable, even scared.

“Tell you what, I’ll go with you,” I said.

“And you’ll stay in the room with me?”

“Yes,” I said, as I reached down to him. “Here. I’ll even carry you.”

I don’t know if he didn’t give the usual springboard help with his legs or what, but he was noticeably more difficult to pick up. “Gosh,” I said, “You sure are getting heavy!”

His face fell and he looked incredibly sad. I’ve made the remark before so I was puzzled by his changed demeanor. In a sullen voice, he said, “I don’t want to get too big for you to pick up.”

“Well, honey, you are going to some day.”

He hugged me tight and continued to look sad.

“But it’ll still be a little while. I bet I can still hold you for awhile longer.”

He buried his face in my neck.

“Hey, look at me,” I said. He looked up as I told him, “You know what? When you finally get too big for me to hold, I’ll be really sad but I bet you won’t be. I bet you’ll be excited to be a big boy.”

He looked me in the eye and said, “I wish I could always stay little so you can hold me.”

My heart melted.

Oh, little boy. It is my fervent wish that you will always feel that way. Even once I have to sit down to hold you in my lap. Even once you are the one cradling me in your big arms. I hope you still stretch your arms back behind your back and tell me you love me “thiiiiiiiis much!” I hope some part of you still wishes you were the little boy in his mother’s arms. I hope you still tell me you love me “all the way to heaven.” But if you don’t, I’ll always remember tonight when you desperately wanted to stay in my arms forever.

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